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Jennifer Wooton, art teacher

True mothering is not for the weak or lazy — doubly so when it comes to Jennifer Wooton, mother of twin boys Jackson and Hudson. But, Wooton is energetic, enthusiastic and happy to be in this stage in her life. As the art teacher at Armstrong Elementary in Highland Park, Jennifer reveals, “I love my job. I love teaching art and I think I have a really good program going.” Life is nothing but busy, working full-time and raising two adorable tots. She laughs as she recalls playing scrabble with hubby, Jon, during bed rest at the end of her pregnancy, “If I knew now how peaceful that time was, I would’ve cherished every moment.” Since the babies were born, they’ve each endured surgery. In fact, the Wootons racked up their first ambulance ride and emergency room visit in the early weeks of parenthood. Fortunately, family from both sides pitched in and helped them get through those difficult first months.

“I used to think getting myself ready for work in the morning was difficult, but it is a piece of cake compared to getting twin 3-year-olds ready and out the door.” Wooton is up long before her boys preparing for an action-packed day of teaching 125 elementary kiddos and keeping life with her husband, boys and extended family flowing nicely. She is thankful to have such an involved partner. “I think that God only gives twins to people with good, involved husbands because you cannot do it without your husband.” She warmly recalls how much Jon helped when she was nursing in the early months and beams when she chats about how much he helps daily now. With extended family in the immediate area, the Wootons take advantage of the built-in baby-sitting support by getting away now and then, knowing that Jackson and Hudson are in capable, loving hands.

Wooton is a staunch advocate of organization. She shares, “I am a ‘Babywise’ Mom. I was very structured. Mothers of twins have to be on a regular routine.” Each day holds at least a load of laundry, plus Wooton admits that she works on laundry throughout the weekend. After picking up the twins from preschool, Wooton plays with them and prepares dinner. Since she and the boys eat early and Jon eats later in the evening, Wooton admits mealtime can be hard. However, “every Sunday night we have a sit-down dinner. That’s our big ‘together’ meal. Friday or Saturday night we’ll usually go out” to favorite kid-friendly haunts.

“Because we work full-time, the boys are the most important thing [after hours],” says Wooton when discussing time alone with her husband. “We don’t really have a lot of sitters unless we have to go to a party or a function.” Knowing that soon enough Jackson and Hudson will be in junior high and possibly more interested in friends, Wooton is all about enjoying every moment with her boys now.

Keep kid-size utensils, plates and cups in a low cabinet so children can set their places. Give them other responsibilities, too, like spraying down and wiping the table.
Prepare a restaurant backpack for young kids in which they can select four or five special toys to keep them busy during dinner out.
Share a large, family calendar with the schedule in a central area. Wooton adores her oversized dry-erase, magnetic calendar that hangs in their mudroom.